New malaria vaccine shows protection for more than a year!

The new vaccine, known as the PfSPZ Vaccine, gives 55 percent protection for more than one year to a few healthy adults.

Last Updated: May 11, 2016, 09:57 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New York: At a time where there is no specific medication to cure malaria, a new experimental vaccine has shown promising results when tested in varying doses in humans.

As per a new study, the new vaccine, known as the PfSPZ Vaccine, gives 55 percent protection for more than one year to a few healthy adults.

The vaccine, developed and produced by US-based pharmaceutical company Sanaria, contains thousands of live, but weakened P. falciparum sporozoites - the early developmental form of the parasite.

"It is now clear that administering the PfSPZ Vaccine intravenously confers long-term, sterile protection in a small number of participants, which has not been achieved with other current vaccine approaches," said principal investigator of the trial Robert Seder from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health.

In the study, NIAID researchers and collaborators at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore conducted the clinical evaluation of the vaccine, which involved immunisation and exposing willing healthy adults to the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum) in a controlled setting.

For the phase one clinical trial, the researchers enrolled 101 healthy adults aged 18 to 45 years who had never had malaria.

Of these volunteers, 59 received the vaccine and 32 participants served as controls and were not vaccinated.

Vaccine recipients were divided into several groups to assess the roles of the route of administration, dose, and number of immunisations in conferring short- and long-term protection against malaria.

To evaluate how well the vaccine prevented malaria infection, all participants - including the control participants who were not vaccinated - were exposed at varying times to the bites of mosquitoes carrying the same P. falciparum strain from which the vaccine was derived.

The researchers found that the vaccine provided malaria protection for more than one year in 55 percent of people without prior malaria infection.

Previous research showed the PfSPZ Vaccine to be highly protective three weeks after immunisation. In this trial, researchers assessed if protection could last for five months to a year.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Medicine.

(With PTI inputs)